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From the Editor: Work Hard, Play Hard

By Samantha VanSchoick
On September 20, 2012


I've always wondered who owned the hot air balloon that soars over Lyndon almost every week during the summer and fall months. After wondering the question aloud to Facebook, a local by the name of David Woodcock said he was old friends with the couple who owned the balloon and arranged for me to meet them just before a launch.

As soon as I saw Heinz Fischer and Lyndy Burdet, a married couple in their early 80's, I could tell they had a love for fun.

"We work hard at playing," said Lyndy. "Hienz didn't retire until the day of his 65th birthday, and we've been so busy since then we don't know how he ever had time to work!"

She's not kidding. In 2008, Heinz and Lyndy became the oldest couple to ski the North Pole. The couple, led by guides, were dropped from a helicopter and skied the 6.39 kilometers to the North Pole.  

Oh, and did I mention both Lyndy and Heinz are airplane pilots?

When they became interested in ballooning 19 years ago, both already were registered airplane pilots. The process to getting a balloon license is similar to getting a pilot's license, with oral, written, and physical components to the test.

"For me getting the balloon license was much harder than the plane because there is so much more to know about weather," Lyndy explained.

Over the past 19 years Lyndy and Heinz have been giving free hot air balloon rides to people in the area, but now they only give rides to close friends and family.

"I took a woman up and I checked everybody out for their weight and their health. I thought she was fine to get up there and she said 'I never leave home without my heart medicine,' and at that point I was like no more rides, except for maybe our family and crew," said Lyndy. 

Lyndy and Heinz have somewhat of a local celebrity since beginning ballooning.

"People I don't even know say they saw us and say 'Where have you been' and 'Are you okay we haven't seen you?" Lyndy said. "Oh, it's a toy, but its been fun."

Lyndy, a cancer survivor, also took part in the Willoughby Plunge last winter. The event where people jump into a frigid Willoughby Lake raises money for the American Cancer Society.

It is so cliché, but after meeting Lyndy and Heinz, I found myself inspired by their enthusiasm for life. Watching them set up for the balloon launch, I could see how much they loved what they were doing. And as they floated up into the air and started waving down at us, I couldn't help but laugh. They are just the kind of people that simply being around them infects you with happiness. 

Now that the semester is in full swing, we should all take a lesson from Lyndy and Heinz: Let's get our work done, but let's remember to have some fun.  

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